Professor Mobolaji Aluko on that Unilag name change…

It is now (bad) news unfortunately that the bungling regime of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, this week renamed with arrogant and ignorant fiat the revered University of Lagos after Chief MKO Abiola, the late icon of the prodemocracy movement. By taking this action, this regime of incompetents has erased the University of Lagos off the history of Nigeria, just like that. Many of us have no problem with according Chief Abiola all the respect and honor he deserves; we have a problem with the lack of due process and are appalled that the resulting controversy has had the effect of tarnishing the names of both the great institution of Unilag and the benefactor, Chief Abiola.  

I am loudly opposed of course to the process that brought about this ill-fated change. It makes a mockery ironically of what Chief Abiola fought for and assures the world that Nigeria’s experiment with democracy is a deadly farce. I was curious as to what the leaders of the now defunct prodemocracy movement thought of this bone-headed move. And so on May 29, 2012, I asked the following question:

This is the time to ask the icons and leaders of the prodemocracy movement, Professors Wole Soyinka, Olusola Adeyeye and Mobolaji Aluko, what do they think of UNILAG’s name change? Is this their idea of how Chief MKO Abiola should be immortalized? By the drunken force of fiat? Is this what they fought for? They should not be silent. They should please speak up and  assure us that this is the way to go, that this is how MKO Abiola would have wanted it. The silence of the prodemocracy movement is deafening and embarrassing. Animal Farm did not look this bad.

On the same day, I received a swift response from Professor Bolaji Aluko which I have appended here for posterity. Professor Aluko is the current vice chancellor of the Federal University at Utuoke in Bayelsa State.  The response speaks for itself and as always he has my respects:


Ikhide “Towncrier” Ikheloa:

You dey find trouble as usual…..

Since you ask, this is/are my opinion/s as a June 12 pro-democrat of yore and present Vice-Chancellor of a federal Nigerian university (at Otuoke) with respect of the change of UniLag to MA(L)U:

1.  as a VC, I would have expected to be consulted by my Visitor at the very least, together with my Senate, student body, alumni, and especially Governing Council.  [The current VC of UniLag, having just died recently – and to be buried tomorrow, with burial rites throughout this week – I would have waited on ANY announcement relative to UniLag until the mourning period is over, and certainly acknowledged the passing in the same speech.]  See October 1, 2011 announcement of change of FUTY to MAUTECH below for example, one of eight (of the 37) federal universities currently named after “important personalities” (here) with ABU being the oldest (1962).  There are 9 out of 37 such-named state universities.

2. in the Democracy Day 2012 Speech, I would merely have ANNOUNCED the possibility of naming one of the federal universities (not necessarily UniLag, which has no unique relationship with MKO – not being an alum, or founder or major benefactor, etc. –  as a PROPOSAL to be considered more democratically.  Maybe the stakeholders of one of the universities – including maybe one of the new ones – would have enthusiastically raised their hands.  It appears that is what happened for FUTY to MAUTECH; again see below.

3. in addition to the above, in the time being, I would have named Abuja Stadium after MKO, and June 12 a Democracy Heroes national public holiday – although it is rather too close to May 29, in which case I might have boldly sacrificed May 29.  The long overdue honor due MKO, arguably a Sacrificial Father of Modern-Day Democracy in Nigeria – should not be made to contribute any further divisiveness in the already “heated Nigerian polity” – as the Nigerian saying goes.

Of course, I am not President GEJ, so those are my views, and yours are welcome.  There is still much time however, for presidential revision of priors

And there you have it….’Nuff said.  I hope that you are not  longer deaf from silence from me.

Bolaji Aluko



The Vice – Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Yola Professor Bashir Haruna Usman, on behalf of the Council, Senate, Staff, Students and the University Community, wishes to bring to the notice of the general public, sister Federal, State and Privately
owned Institutions, Public Parastatals, Private Corporate bodies as well as all friends  and business partners of the University, that in the tradition of immortalising important personalities and historian of great repute, the President and commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigerian Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, has approved the change of name of the University from: FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, YOLA (FUTY) to MODIBBO ADAMA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, YOLA (MAUTECH, YOLA), supposedly named after Modibbo Adama Ibn Hassan, a great scholar, an erudite educationist, an outstanding leader and the founder of the Fombina Kingdom (Now Adamawa Emirate Council). As the first ruler and founder of the Emirate, Modibbo Adama Ibn Hassan (1809 -1847) was one of the disciples and flag bearers of Sheikh Usman Ibn Fodio of the Sokoto Caliphate. By this therefore, the general public is enjoined to note the new name of the University and
be informed that all former documents and correspondences bearing
Federal University of Technology, Yola remain valid, and the change of name takes effect from 1st October, 2011.


Alh. Ahmed Usman W/Chekke


5 thoughts on “Professor Mobolaji Aluko on that Unilag name change…”

  1. Good and intelligent contribution from Prof B. Aluko. I just continue to wonder who are the professionals (Advisers) around the President. They are receiving millions of naira as salaries and entitlements, yet their quality of work is nothing to write home about. Or is it that they are too timid to tell the President the plain truth and proper advise, or the President does not seek their adviser at all on this national and sensitive issue. The best immortalisation for MKO and all the victims of the struggle for democracy would have been reverting to JUNE 12 as the Democracy Day (not the artificial May 29th) and then follow the ideas suggested in Prof’s mail. Immortalising MKO in the heart of the country like Abuja would have been ideal and proper for such a person.

  2. Prof. Bolaji Aluko has always been someone I hold in very high esteem. With this contribution, his estimation in my mind has gone up to almost celestial heights!

    That there are some blockheads that still see nothing wrong with this name change explains why we still have a long way to go as a nation and why this so-called democracy is a farce and a blatant imposition.

    As far as I’m concerned, this misbegotten idea by GEJ was a transparent and jejune political opportunism that has already failed woefully. Wiping away 50 years of history in Ebele fashion (a tendency to recurrently engage in creative ‘visionlessness’) cannot and must not be allowed to stand.

    Pa Ikhide and Prof. Aluko, I salute your erudition and objectivity. Long may you live to continue to guide us aright………

  3. the naming of FUTY was taken duely and the VC with the precident carried every body along. Why is that of UNILAG different? We are not saying that MKO should not be immortalized, but his immortalization should be duely so that it can be accepted by all. Just standing up one day and announced that the name UNILAG has been changed to MAULAG without due processes shows that there is a hidden agenda and or the man MKO Abiola is not cellebrated by the people. We all know what the man MKO stands for in this present day democracy, so the president should be bold enough to consult widly including NANS, the stake holders, alumni, senate and other members of unilag community. I felt the president took the right step but in a wrong direction. I wish all Nigerians the best of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

  4. On the issue of Nigerian nation’s president-elect and “presumed winner” (taken to be bad-mouthing), it must be borne in mind that prime minister assignment cannot come down to presidential assignment, in idest, a dead-end was created. This dilemma led to the stepping aside of a head of state turned military president, followed by an interim national government (ING) that paved way to handing over for the due process of political orientation and democracy.
    Going back the memory lane, the bone of contention was the two-third factor during the second republic which favored the north and consequently, the next republic election involving north and south contesting for the presidential election should be in favor of the south as witnessed by the array of dialogues at the constitutional conference of the military president. So, without announcing the result of the June 12 election, the two-third factor remained the gateway pass for the south to declare the president-elect which, considering the prime minister assignment of the north led to the acronym of “presumed winner”, maybe.
    The supposed prime minister assignment became glaring when the Bauchi State Polytechnic in Bauchi State was renamed Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi.
    It is like parable that the drum of the ancient mystic is beaten, understood only by the wise ones and the root-meaning known only by the sages.

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